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Nickname : Bytown, The National Capital
Ottawa Parliament Hill
Ottawa Parliament Hill
Ottawa Coat of Arms
coat of arms
Flag of Ottawa
Motto : Advance Ottawa
("Forward Ottawa")
Location in Ontario
Ottawa (Ontario)
State : CanadaCanada Canada
Province : Ontario
Region : National Capital Region
Coordinates : 45 ° 25 ′  N , 75 ° 42 ′  W Coordinates: 45 ° 25 ′  N , 75 ° 42 ′  W
Height : 70  m
Area : 2 778.64  km²
Inhabitants :
Metropolitan Area :
934,243 (as of 2016)
1,323,783 (as of 2016)
Population density : 336.2 inhabitants / km²
Time zone : Eastern Time ( UTC − 5 )
Postal code : K0A-K4C
Area code : +1 613, 343 (from May 2010)
Foundation : 1850
Mayor : Jim Watson
Website :

Ottawa ( English [ ˈɒtəwə ], French [ ɔtaˈwa ]) is the federal capital of Canada . It is located in the eastern part of the Province of Ontario on the Ottawa River , right on the border with the Province of Québec . Ottawa means "merchant" in the Algonquin language , a people who traded on the river at the time of settlement. On the other bank of the river is the twin city Gatineau . Ottawa itself has 934,243 inhabitants (2016 census), making it the sixth largest city in Canada, while the Ottawa-Gatineau metropolitan area is Canada's fourth largest metropolitan area with 1,323,783 inhabitants (2016 census) .

The population is 63% English - and 15% French-speaking . Ottawa is the only officially bilingual city in the region. In the city itself, the English language predominates, in contrast to Gatineau on the other side of the Ottawa River, where the French language predominates. Due to the large number of immigrants, numerous other languages ​​are also known.

The economy of the capital is mainly supported by two sectors: on the one hand by the jobs of the federal authorities and the federal government, on the other hand by those of the high technology industry. Ottawa ranks first in terms of gross domestic product and net income of employees in the national comparison and ranks first in the per capita number of residents with academic degrees. (→ education )

In a ranking of cities according to their quality of life, Ottawa took 19th place out of 231 cities worldwide in 2018.



The city of Ottawa is located on the southern bank of the Ottawa River , at the confluence of the Rideau Canal and Rideau Rivers . From the north, through the Gatineau metropolitan area, the Rivière Gatineau flows into the Ottawa River. The city of Ottawa is located in the eastern corner of the province of Ontario and is roughly on the same latitude as Bordeaux and Venice .

Satellite view of Ottawa and Gatineau

The oldest parts of the city are known as Lower Town and are located in the area between the Rideau Canal and the Rideau River. On the opposite bank of the canal is Centretown (also called Downtown ), the financial and commercial center of the city. Parliament Hill , the government district, is located between the city center and the Ottawa River . There are several smaller islands in the Ottawa River. In front of one, the 60 m wide Chaudière Falls with a drop depth of 15 m accumulate. The natural waterfalls are now also artificially dammed and used to generate electricity. East of the city center, the Rideau Falls plunge over several cascades into the Ottawa River on the Rideau River, thus forming the estuary. The entire urban area is comparatively extensive and covers an area of ​​2779 km², which is larger than the area of ​​the Saarland .

Ottawa borders the following districts ( counties ) in Ontario: the east by the United Counties of Prescott and Russell , on the southeast by the United Counties of Stormont , the south by the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville , in the southwest of Lanark County and West on Renfrew County . In the north it borders on the independent city of Gatineau and the regional county town of Les Collines-de-l'Outaouais in Quebec. The urban area is surrounded to the south by a green belt with a total area of ​​203.5 km². This was proposed in 1950 by the urban planner Jacques Gréber as part of a master plan for the city and implemented by the government from 1956.

City structure

Map of the city of Ottawa

In 2001 Ottawa (which then had around 350,000 inhabitants) was merged with the previously independent cities of Nepean, Kanata , Gloucester, Rockcliffe Park, Vanier and Cumberland and the rural communities of West Carleton, Osgoode, Rideau and Goulbourn. The entire current city area belonged from 1969 to 2001 to the regional municipality of Ottawa-Carleton, which performed individual cross-municipality infrastructure tasks. Since the merger, the urban area of ​​Ottawa has grown many times over, with the result that 80% of the total area is rural. The city is divided into 23 administrative units (English wards ). These in turn are informally in quarters ( Neighborhoods divided).

Although Ottawa and its twin city Gatineau are administratively separated and even in different provinces , they form a common metropolitan area with over 1.4 million inhabitants together with other smaller communities. The official name of this since 1959 and 4715 km² large metropolitan area is National Capital Region (French Région de la capitale nationale ). In contrast to other large states, there is no actual federal government district in Canada , the status of Ottawa corresponds to that of other independent cities in the province of Ontario. However, the federal government has indirect influence on urban development in the National Capital Region through the National Capital Commission , which manages the buildings and extensive land owned by the federal government.


Most of the tectonic movements can be seen in western Canada. Nevertheless, light to medium earthquakes have also been recorded in the eastern part and thus in the region around Ottawa . Canada lies on the comparatively stable North American plate and thus the east - compared to other parts of the world - has relatively little seismic activity. Every year around 450 earthquakes are registered in eastern Canada, of which around four exceed magnitude 4 on the Richter scale .

Eastern Canada is divided into further earthquake zones. Ottawa itself is located in the extensive Western Quebec Seismic Zone , which encompasses the entire Ottawa Valley from Montreal to Témiscaming, including the metropolitan areas of Montreal, Ottawa-Hull and Cornwall. The patterns of the previous earthquakes show a concentration of activities primarily in the two areas along the Ottawa River and on the Montreal-Maniwaki axis.

On September 16, 1732, an earthquake occurred in Montreal with an estimated magnitude of 5.8 on the Richter scale. This caused considerable damage. On November 1, 1935, there was the strongest earthquake to date with a magnitude of 6.2, the epicenter of which was near Témiscaming in the province of Quebec, northwest of Ottawa. On September 5, 1944, a 5.6 magnitude quake epicentered near Cornwall , a small town between Ottawa and Montreal, caused about $ 2 million in damage and caused over 2,000 chimneys to collapse. Between 1980 and 2000, 16 quakes in Ottawa reached strengths above magnitude 4.


The climate in Ottawa is a humid continental climate with a wide range and record temperatures ( effective climate classification : Dfb). On July 4, 1913, a maximum temperature of 37.8 ° C was measured, whereas on December 29, 1933, it was -38.9 ° C, the lowest temperature ever recorded. In relation to this record low temperature, Ottawa is one of the four coldest capitals in the world after Ulaanbaatar , Nur-Sultan and Moscow . These enormous temperature differences allow the city to hold a variety of annual events, such as the Winterlude Festival on the frozen Rideau Canal. Due to the relatively warm summers, however, when viewed on an annual average, Ottawa is only one of the seven coldest capitals worldwide.

The ice storm of 1998 as an example of the extreme climate in the Canadian capital

During the winter months, snow and ice dominate. Every year, a total of 235 cm of snow falls. The largest amount of snow ever measured on a day was 73 cm on March 2, 1947. The average temperature in January is −10.8 ° C with strong fluctuations between day and night temperatures. While the daytime temperatures can be slightly above the zero degree limit, the nighttime temperatures occasionally drop to below −30 ° C. In an average winter, the capital lies under a closed snow cover from mid-December to early April, although there can be snow-free days around Christmas time. The winter of 2007/08 was particularly productive with a total of 432.7 cm of snow, which means that the snow depth was only slightly below that of the record year 1970/71 of 444.1 cm. High wind chills are just as common as freezing rain. One of these ice storms even caused power outages in January 1998 and severely affected the local economy.

Summers are relatively humid and warm, but only last a relatively short time. The average maximum temperature in July is 26 ° C with occasional incursions of cold air with falling humidity from the north of the country. Spring and autumn are therefore changeable due to the extremes. Hot days with over 30 ° C can already occur at the beginning of March, but also at the end of October. The average rainfall is around 914 mm. The greatest amount of rain within one day was measured on September 9, 2004 at 136 mm. In Ottawa, the sun shines about 2060 hours a year, which corresponds to 47% of the possible hours of sunshine. Tornadoes can also occur in summer .

Climate diagram
J F. M. A. M. J J A. S. O N D.
Temperature in ° Cprecipitation in mm
Source: Canadian Climate Normals 1971–2000: Ottawa CDA
Average monthly temperatures and rainfall for Ottawa
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Max. Temperature ( ° C ) −6.1 −3.9 2.1 10.9 19.1 23.8 26.4 25.0 19.7 12.6 4.9 −2.9 O 11
Min. Temperature (° C) −14.8 −13.2 −7.0 1.1 8.0 13.0 15.5 14.3 9.7 3.7 −1.9 −10.3 O 1.6
Temperature (° C) −10.5 −8.6 −2.4 6.0 13.6 18.4 21.0 19.7 14.7 8.2 1.5 −6.6 O 6.3
Precipitation ( mm ) 64.2 51.6 64.9 67.7 81.0 91.2 88.9 87.6 86.8 79.1 77.0 74.1 Σ 914.1
Hours of sunshine ( h / d ) 3.3 4.6 5.2 6.3 7.5 8.4 8.9 8.0 5.7 4.4 2.8 2.6 O 5.6
Rainy days ( d ) 16.6 12.2 12.4 12.4 13.4 12.9 12.4 12.0 14.1 14.2 14.7 16.1 Σ 163.4
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec


Early history

Research into prehistory in the area of ​​the Canadian capital began very late, although an unknown author dealt with a burial site for 20 Indians in Ottawa as early as 1843, and Edward Van Cortlandt with a (different?) Burial site in 1853. However, apart from the work of Thomas Walter Edwin Sowter around 1900, research came to a standstill for more than a century. The trigger for brief discussions was the discovery of a portage and an Indian camp exactly where Canada's National Museum of History and Society is now. It was not until 2002, on the occasion of the construction of the new war museum , that there was intensive research into the sites endangered by the construction work.

The oldest human traces go back around 6,500 years and can be found at Leamy Lake, but especially in the Ottawa Valley. The Ottawa , who gave the capital its name, came to the Great Lakes from the east in the 14th century . However, they only settled in the region until 1651.

Étienne Brûlé was the first European to sail the Ottawa River in 1610 , and Samuel de Champlain met the Ottawa chief Tessouat in 1613 near the future city of Ottawa. He called the residents "Oudaouais". They settled in groups of two or three families in winter and formed large hunting associations in summer. The French took over the snowshoes from them . According to Champlain, they sacrificed tobacco in the Chaudière cases . In 1620 he sent Jean Nicolet to the Kichesipirini , who called the river "Kichesippi" (Great River). By this time the Ottawa had succeeded in establishing a trade monopoly along the river. They used their canoes to transport furs to the villages of the Wyandot or Hurons, where they were received by the French. In the opposite direction, they transported French merchandise to the more distant tribes. Around 1630, with the Beaver Wars, a protracted struggle for the fur trade with the Iroquois began , which set in motion extensive migrations. In 1636 the Kichesipirini tried in vain to bring together a coalition with the Hurons , Algonquin and Nipissing against the Iroquois, who annihilated the Hurons and later other tribes around 1650. Some of the groups did not return until around 1700, but the Ottawa remained predominantly south of the Great Lakes and thus on the territory of the later United States . Nevertheless, the French fur traders had got used to refer to every Indian from the region of the later capital as "Ottawa", even if it was an Algonquin or an Ojibway. The river called “Grande Rivière des Algoumequins” soon became, by mistake, the “Grande Riviere des Outaouais”.

The Chaudière Falls in 1838, before the damming

Around Ottawa, for example on the Isle-aux-Allumettes, apart from the roughly two decades in which the Ottawa built up their trade monopoly, Algonquin groups settled. Champlain called one of these groups "Algoumequins". Their language was a widely used language of traders, so that this name was soon transferred to all the tribes of this language family . Today the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg live north of Ottawa (near Maniwaki) ; to the west, on Golden Lake , is where the Algonquins of Pikwàkanagàn First Nation settle .

In 1759 the area came under British rule. 1800 came with Philemon Wright from Massachusetts a first settler group of five families and 33 workers to the Chaudière Falls, which Wright called "Columbia Falls". Today's Gatineau emerged from the Wright's Town settlement . In 1806 the first raft made of 700 logs went down the river to Québec, but it was Napoleon's continental barrier with its high prices that made these trips a profitable business. Wright, who dominated the place, also supplied wheat to the USA from 1812. By 1830 Wright's Town, especially his company P. Wright & Sons , founded in 1814 , became the most important timber company in Canada, but at the same time Wright prevented any industrial establishment for three decades for fear of competition.

The fur trade, after long operated by independent hunters and traders, was dominated by the Montreal- based North West Company . However, it was forcibly merged with the Hudson's Bay Company in 1821, but fur hunting in the Ottawa Valley was now of little importance.

First settlements, founding of cities, capital

View of the west end of Wellington Street in Upper Bytown 1845, painting by Thomas Burrowes

The name Bytown was first used in 1827 to name the settlement around the construction site of the Rideau Canal . Its name goes back to Colonel John By, who led the construction of the connecting canal between the Ottawa and the Rideau River from 1826 to 1832 .

James Johnston founded the town's first newspaper, Bytown Independent , in 1836 . In 1839 the settlement had 2073 inhabitants. After some controversy, Bytown was granted city status in 1850 . The city kept the name until 1854; from January 1, 1855, the city was officially called Ottawa. The first major industry was the timber industry, which used the Ottawa to transport huge rafts. Sawmills were built on the Chaudière and Rideau falls, and JR Booth was the most successful of these lumber barons . In 1855 Ottawa already had around 10,000 inhabitants. The Rideau Canal brought wood to Kingston and across Lake Erie to Oswego , an opening in the Canadian forests towards the USA, which was expanded by the construction of the railroad. As in the fur trade, large companies soon supplanted family businesses.

On December 31, 1857, Queen Victoria was asked to choose a capital for the province of Canada . (→ History of Canada ) She chose Ottawa. There are several legends surrounding the selection. The queen is said to have stuck her hat pin about halfway between the cities of Toronto and Montreal on a map ; the next place was Ottawa. In fact, the city was chosen because Ottawa was on the one hand on the language border and thus seemed acceptable to both European sections of the population (in Canada today we speak of Euro-Canadians), on the other hand, in contrast to being close to the border with the USA Located in Toronto, which from Lake Ontario - in the event of another war with the United States - might have been easily attackable, Ottawa was far inland. Barracks Hill, where By had kept his guards, was to become the seat of Parliament. Construction on the building began in 1860 and was to cost around $ 4.5 million by 1866. However, he brought construction workers and architects, then numerous administrative officials and members of parliament along with their families to Ottawa. The neo-Gothic style, popular in Great Britain at the time, was preferred .

The constitutional law of 1867 made Ottawa the capital of the new Canadian state. The first telephone was presented to the public here in 1877. Twelve years later, in 1899, the Ottawa Improvement Commission was set up to beautify the city. On April 26, 1900, however, a fire destroyed around 2000 buildings. A broken chimney in Hull, the old town center of Gatineau, caught fire and spread to Ottawa due to the weather conditions. At that time, seven people died directly from the fire, there were more deaths from the subsequent epidemics, and 15,000 were made homeless. On February 3, 1916, another major fire destroyed the parliament and senate buildings. The new parliament building was completed in 1922.

Reconstruction by Jacques Gréber, Cold War

VE Day parade on Parliament Hill, 1945

In 1927 the Federal District Commission replaced the commission set up in 1899, which also ensured the preservation of the extensive forests in Gatineau Park.

Shortly after the end of the Second World War, the city gained worldwide public attention when the Soviet cryptographer Igor Gouzenko defected from the embassy in Ottawa to the Western powers on September 5, 1945 . He stole 109 secret files on the development of nuclear weapons. At the height of the Cold War, the Diefenbunker was built in Carp, a village west of Ottawa , to protect the government, administration and archive materials . It can be viewed today. The bunker was intended to ensure the continued functioning of government activities in the event of an atomic bomb attack, even if the city was completely destroyed.

Since Ottawa was comparatively poorly developed in terms of urban planning, after the establishment of the National Capital Commission in 1959 under the direction of Jacques Gréber, industrial and railway facilities were banned from the inner city, green spaces were created and cultural life was promoted. This included centralizing numerous artifacts from Canadian history into one central museum. As early as 1958, the National Capital Act created a capital district of 4800 km², to which 27 municipalities belonged, but mainly Ottawa and Hull.


Political structures

Ottawa City Hall

The city government (English: Ottawa City Council , French: Conseil municipal d'Ottawa ) is the administrative body of the city and is composed of 23 city councils and a mayor. The administrative structure is one-tier and is responsible for all areas of city services. The mayor represents the interests and concerns of the entire city, while the city councils of Representatives ( City Councilors ) of the 23 administrative units ( wards are). They are elected for a four-year legislative term. The last election took place on November 13, 2006. Larry O'Brien ( Conservative Party of Canada ) has been mayor since December 1, 2006 , followed by Jim Watson on December 1, 2010 . He was elected with 47.08% of the vote, replacing Bob Chiarelli. The seat of the city government is the town hall, which is located south of Confederation Park .

The city government meets regularly twice a month in the town hall, on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month. If necessary, special meetings are also held. The City Council is a standing committee ( Standing Committee associated). Citizens can present their concerns to this committee, which in turn examines the concerns and presents them to the city council in short presentations. In addition, there are 16 advisory committees that provide the city council with technical support on various topics and make recommendations. Some members of the committee are made up of volunteers.

badges and flags

The coat of arms of the city of Ottawa was introduced on October 20, 1954 by Vincent Massey . It shows a white shield, which is interrupted in a cross shape by two wavy blue lines. They represent the two rivers, the Rideau River and the Ottawa River, that flow through the city. In the heraldic top right corner is the royal crown of Queen Victoria , who made Ottawa the capital. At the lower left heraldic corner is a red maple leaf. The upper part of the shield shows arrows, an astrolabe and shovels from right to left on a red background . The arrows symbolize the first inhabitants, while the astrolabe stands for the discovery by Samuel de Champlain . The shovels represent John By, who built the Rideau Canal. To the right and left of the sign are a lumberjack and an officer. Both stand on a green background of grass and pinecones. Below is a banner with the city motto "Advance - Ottawa - en avant". There is a silver helmet above the shield. A pine tree sits enthroned on it, which historically formed the economic basis for the Ottawa Valley and later the city of Ottawa.

The flag is a stylized white O, the first letter of the city. The dynamic lines also symbolize the Maple Leaf , the national symbol of Canada and the Peace Tower of the Parliament building. The background colors are blue and a bright green. Blue stands for the waterways through Ottawa, the green for the forests, trees and parklands. The flag has existed since January 1, 2000 when the city merged with its neighboring communities.

From 1987 to 2000 the city flag was a three-color flag with vertical bars and the city coat of arms in its center. The tricolor represented the monarchy (purple), the liberals (red) and the conservatives (blue). From 1901 to 1987 the same flag was used without a coat of arms.

Town twinning

City partnerships exist

Since January 10, 1997, a Memorandum of Understanding has also existed between Ottawa and Seoul , South Korea, on future cooperation.


Population development

Ottawa's population
year Residents
1891 044,250
1901 101.102
1911 123.417
1921 152,868
1931 174.056
1941 206,367
1951 246,298
1961 358.410
1971 471.931
1981 546.850
1991 678.147
2001 774.072
2006 812.129
2011 883.391

The city's population has grown steadily over the past few decades. The table opposite shows the population development within the respective city limits. The city limits have been enlarged twelve times since Bytown was founded, especially in the 1940s and 1950s. In 2001 the largest and so far last expansion of the city area took place. The Ottawa-Gatineau metropolitan area had 1,236,324 residents in the 2011 census. Within the original boundaries before the merger with other parts of the city, Ottawa only had 337,031 inhabitants, their number even decreased to 328,105 in 2006. According to a forecast, the urban population is set to continue to grow and exceed the million mark in around 2021. In 2011, Ottawa had 883,391 residents.


In 2001 the proportion of women was around 51.23%, young people under the age of 14 made up 19.30% of the total population, and the proportion of people over 65 was 10.81%. The average age was 36.6 years. The proportion of foreigners in 2006 was 22.28%. The proportion of "visible minorities" was 20.2%, while the proportion of indigenous people made up 1.5% of the total population. The largest visible minority is made up of the blacks with 4.9%, followed by the Chinese with 3.8%, South Asians with 3.3% and Arabs with 3.0%.

Population distribution total
Age 0-4 5-14 15-19 20-24 25-44 45-54 55-64 65-74 75-84 > 85
total 44,585 101,565 49,445 53,680 251,660 114,915 69,230 48.010 31,420 9560 774.070
Women 21,965 49,490 24,095 26,845 127,645 58,965 35,595 25,885 19,295 6915 396,690
Men 22,620 52,075 25,345 26,840 124.015 55,955 33,635 22,130 12,125 2645 377.380


Distribution of the francophone population in the urban area

Ottawa is officially English and French speaking. The entire administration is geared towards bilingualism . The population is predominantly English-speaking (62.6%); around 14.9% are French-speaking (→ Franco-Ontarians ). Only a small proportion of the population (around 0.85%) grew up with two mother tongues. 59.87% only have knowledge of English, while 1.62% only speak French. The French-speaking residents mainly live in the northeastern boroughs along the Ottawa River. Around 37% of the population speak both languages, around 1.3% do not speak either language. Many other languages ​​such as Arabic , Chinese , Italian , German , Spanish and Persian are represented by the immigrants .


According to the 2001 census, 79.34% of the population belonged to a Christian denomination. With 54.16% of these, the largest group belongs to the Roman Catholic Church , 21.85% are Protestants , and 1.68% belong to the Orthodox Church . The remaining are members of the free Christian churches, Jehovah's Witnesses, or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints . The largest non-Christian group are members of Islam with 3.97%. This is followed by members of Judaism (1.09%) and Buddhism (0.95%). The proportion of people with no religion is 13.29%.

Economy and Infrastructure

Capital infrastructure

Supreme Court building of Canada

Ottawa is home to the country's most important political institutions. The Canadian Parliament with Senate and House of Commons as well as the Governor General of Canada have their seat here as well as the Supreme Court of Canada . The Canadian Prime Minister's official residence has been at 24 Sussex Drive since 1949 . The rather modest house was built between 1866 and 1868 by Joseph Merrill Currier (1820-1884). The Prime Minister's country house is outside the city on Lake Harrington in Gatineau Park , around 33 km northwest of the government district. The residence of the head of state (the monarch or the governor general as deputy) has resided in Rideau Hall (1 Sussex Drive) since July 1, 1867 . The representative building is mainly used for state receptions. Only 500 m² of the total of 9500 m² are designed as an apartment. The opposition leader of the lower house and its chairman ( speaker ) also have official residences in the capital district . The Official State Visit Guest House is a Victorian building near Rideau Hall.

In addition, 126 diplomatic missions and high commissioners have their headquarters in the capital. Most of the embassies and residences are located in the Rockcliffe diplomatic district northeast of the government district, with another cluster of diplomatic missions in the southern inner city. The German Embassy in Ottawa has existed again since February 13, 1951 , after being interrupted by the Second World War .

Houses of Parliament: East Block

The central bank, Bank of Canada , was founded in Ottawa in 1935 and is located on the corner of Wellington Street and Bank Street in downtown.

The national statistical authority Statistics Canada (French: Statistique Canada ) has been located in Ottawa since 1971 . This organization emerged from the Dominion Bureau of Statistics , founded in 1918 . The authority with around 1700 employees is located west of downtown.

The city also has the following ministries and federal agencies: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada , Citizenship and Immigration Canada , Department of Finance Canada , Fisheries and Oceans Canada , Global Affairs Canada , Health Canada , Industry Canada , Department of Justice , Department of National Defense , Natural Resources Canada , Public Safety Canada , Transport Canada , Veterans Affairs Canada and Canada Border Services Agency , Nav Canada , Royal Canadian Mounted Police , Communications Security Establishment Canada and the Canadian Privy Council .

In Gatineau are u. a. the following ministries and federal agencies: Employment and Social Development Canada , Environment and Climate Change Canada , Public Services and Procurement Canada , Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada , Transportation Safety Board of Canada and Canadian International Development Agency .


The city's employees work primarily for either the Canadian federal agencies and the federal government or in the high-tech industry . The companies 3M , General Dynamics Canada , Adobe Inc. , Bell Canada , IBM Canada , MacDonald Dettwiler , Telesat Canada , Neptec , Corel Corporation and Hewlett-Packard , among others, are based in Ottawa . The concentration of companies in this branch also earned the city the nickname “ Silicon Valley of the North”. The company Royal Canadian Mint exclusively mints the investment and commemorative coins of the Canadian dollar here at its listed headquarters .

According to a 2006 survey, there are a total of 522,000 jobs in Ottawa. Around 40,000 new jobs were created between 2001 and 2006. Despite the increase, the average growth over a five-year period is slower than in the late 1990s. While the number of employees in the field of federal politics stagnated, it grew faster in the high-tech sector by 2.4%. The total growth of jobs in Ottawa-Gatineau was 1.3% compared to the previous year and was therefore in 6th place behind Edmonton (6.7%), Calgary (3.9%), Vancouver (3.0%), Montreal (2.5%) and Toronto (2.3%). The unemployment rate in Ottawa-Gatineau was 5.2% (Ottawa only: 5.1%), below the national average of 6.0%.

The increase in gross domestic product in Canada was 2.4% in 2007; Ottawa was the fourth major city with 2.7%. The Ottawa-Gatineau region has the third highest income of any major city in Canada. The region's average gross income was $ 40,078 (after Calgary at $ 52,927 and Edmonton at $ 42,866), an increase of 4.9% year over year. The net income was $ 30,347 (an increase of 4.4% over the previous year) and is also third for the region. The cost of living index was measured at 110.7 in 2007, which corresponds to an annual rate of increase of 1.9%.

The global economic crisis caused the unemployment rate to rise between April 2008 and April 2009 from 4.7 to 6.3%. In the provinces, however, this rate rose from 6.4 to 9.1% over the same period.


A number of daily newspapers appear in the Canadian capital. The Ottawa Citizen , founded in 1845, is an English-language, conservative daily newspaper with a circulation of around 140,000 copies. The newspaper has the Peace Tower in its logo . As in other major Canadian cities, the free commuter newspaper 24 Hours appears . The Ottawa Sun is considered conservative-populist and is the sister paper of the Toronto Sun . The French-language Le Droit appears daily with around 35,000 copies . The newspaper, founded in 1913, is also the only francophone daily newspaper in the province of Ontario, but is also read in the neighboring Gatineau.

Although Ottawa is the capital of Canada, most of the television channels - including local - are based in southern Ontario, primarily in Toronto. Because of the bilingual nature of the city, it has terrestrial reception capabilities for most of the country's English and French speaking channels. The capital is home to talk radio 580 CFRA , founded in 1947 , the sports radio station The Team 1200 , oldie radio stations Oldies 1310 , Hot 89.9FM and Live 88.5FM .


Ottawa is connected to the VIA Rail network by two stations . The Ottawa train station is the starting and end point of the lines to Toronto and Montreal. Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport , located around ten kilometers south of the city center, is served by a large number of airlines. There are ten other smaller airfields in the city's region. Ottawa is connected to other Canadian cities by long-distance bus services from several companies such as Greyhound Canada .

Ottawa Rapid Transit network map

OC Transpo operates bus routes in Ottawa . Noteworthy is the Transitway . It is a bus route system that is largely free of intersections and has bus stops that are reminiscent of underground stations . In the city center, the buses leave the transitway and run on the normal road network. The O-Train , a diesel-powered light rail system, also exists as a pilot project .

Ottawa is accessible through a network of several highways in a star shape. The Highway 417 ( The Queensway ) runs as part of the Trans-Canada Highway from west to east toward Montreal. To the south, Highway 416 ( Veterans Memorial Highway ) leads to Prescott and connects the capital to the remaining 400 highways and the Golden Horseshoe .

Highway 7 runs 537 km from London in southwestern Ontario via Kitchener and Guelph to Ottawa. The capital is connected to its sister city Gatineau by five road bridges and a railway bridge over the Ottawa River.

The George Dunbar Bridge crosses the Rideau River .

A large number of streets are managed as so-called Scenic Parkways by the National Capital Commission , they are mainly intended for recreational traffic and are therefore closed to trucks. On the summer weekends, a cross-shaped scenic parkway is closed to motorized traffic and is used by pedestrians, roller skaters and cyclists .

Ottawa is criss-crossed by a large network of pedestrian and bike paths. The paths avoid busy motorways, are designed with wide curbs and also extend along the rivers. They thus offer good opportunities for cycling or walks.

According to statistical surveys in 2005 - measured on a busy morning - around 62% of citizens used the automobile, 21% public transport, 9% walked, 2% used the bicycle and 6% used other means of transport. For the future, due to the growing population, the focus will be on local public transport and an occupancy rate of 30% will be aimed for. Gatineau to Ottawa commuter traffic totaled 43,200 in 2005, which is 31% of total traffic. Conversely, there were only 17,200 commuters from Ottawa to Gatineau, which corresponds to a rate of 4%. The commuter exchange between the rural urban area and the downtown area is even more drastic at a ratio of 67% inward to 2% out of town.

Educational institutions

University of Ottawa Tabaret Hall

The city has two state universities, Ottawa University and Carleton University . There are also several universities. Founded in 1967, Algonquin College is a college of applied arts and technology. The Dominican University College offers several faculties of philosophy and theology . The small college has around 160 students and was founded in 1900. Founded in 1848, Saint Paul University is a papal Catholic university with about 1,000 students. It houses faculties for canon law , human sciences, philosophy and theology. Most colleges and universities teach English and French. The La Cité collégiale with about 5,000 students is a French-language university, which was founded as an offshoot of the Algonquin College 1990th

First Avenue Public School, an OCDSB primary school

The Ottawa-Carleton District School Board (OCDSB), Conseil des écoles publiques de l'Est de l'Ontario , Ottawa Catholic School Board and Conseil des écoles catholiques du Center-Est operate numerous general education schools that teach in English or French. There are also several privately run schools, e.g. B. Ashbury College boarding school and a Montessori school .

Ottawa has the nation's highest per capita concentration of engineers, scientists and residents with an academic degree .

The National Archives and Library of Canada Library and Archives Canada was opened in a newly constructed building in 1967 by Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson .

Culture and sights

Cityscape and architecture in downtown

Parliament building (Center Block): seat of the Federal Parliament
Parliament Library

In contrast to Toronto and Montreal, only a few tall buildings dominate Ottawa's cityscape. At 112 m, the tallest building, Place de Ville II, is only slightly higher than the historic Peace Tower of the parliament building. In the city center in particular, the streets are laid out at right angles , with the major arterial roads partially retaining their original course and only partially following the pattern.

The main attraction is the government district, the buildings of which were designed based on the government buildings in London and are kept in the style of British neo-Gothic . The structures are located on Parliament Hill between the Rideau Canal and the Ottawa River. The Parliament Building is a complex that consists of three parts ( East Block , West Block and Center Block ) and the striking 92 m high Peace Tower. On the north side of the Center Block is the Parliamentary Library , which is reminiscent of a Gothic religious building due to its domed roof and support pillars. On the forecourt of Parliament burns the Centennial Flame , which is intended to commemorate the first hundred years of the Canadian Confederation on New Year's Eve 1966. The Supreme Court of Canada is a few hundred meters west of Parliament . The highest Canadian court sits in a building built in 1939 with a greenish roof. There are numerous statues of famous Canadian politicians in the government district. To the east of the parliament building is a statue from 1977 depicting Queen Elizabeth II on a horse.

The Roman Catholic Cathedral Basilica of Notre Dame, east of the Rideau Canal on Sussex Drive, consecrated in 1846, is Ottawa's oldest church and the seat of the Archbishop. The neo-Gothic church was built between 1841 and 1865, the magnificent interior was designed between 1876 and 1885.

To the west of Notre Dame is the National Gallery of Canada . South of the museum is the access to the Alexandra Bridge to Gatineau and a small park with the Samuel de Champlains monument ( Nepean Point ).

The Rideau Canal flows between the parliament buildings and the luxury hotel Château Laurier , which has several lock steps at the mouth of the Ottawa River and bridges a height difference of 24.1 meters with the help of eight manually operated gates. In the winter months, the canal becomes the longest skating rink in the world (around seven kilometers).

Confederation Square, a triangular park with a monumental war memorial, is located on the Rideau Canal. South of the park is the National Arts Center , a concert, opera and theater house. The Château Laurier is located north of Confederation Square . The hotel building, reminiscent of a medieval castle, was built in 1912 as a railway hotel and is one of the best hotels in town.


Domed building of the National Gallery

The National Gallery of Canada collection documents the development of Canadian art, but also exhibits Asian and European art. The museum building with its eye-catching glass dome was designed by Moshe Safdie in 1988 . The museum owns works by artists such as Lucas Cranach the Elder. Ä. , El Greco , Gustav Klimt , Pablo Picasso or Andy Warhol . Canadian art is z. B. represented with works by Paul Kane and the Group of Seven . The museum also shows video art in its own section . On the forecourt is the ten meter high bronze spider sculpture Maman , which was erected in 1999 and created by the French sculptor Louise Bourgeois .

Next to the Château Laurier is the Museum of Contemporary Photography , which is attached to the National Gallery . Housed in a former railway tunnel, it houses over 150,000 photographs by mostly Canadian artists.

Since 2005, the Canadian War Museum has been located in a new building on Lebreton Flats near the Ottawa River. The building was designed by architects Raymond Miriyama and Alex Rankin. The war history of Canada is examined chronologically in five different sections, both in its own country and in other parts of the world. One attraction is an original Mercedes-Benz 770 - Convertible of Adolf Hitler . This exhibit, which should originally have been Hermann Göring's car , is a gift from a Québec businessman in 1970. The museum also reconstructed a number of well-known theaters of war, such as a trench from the First World War.

In neighboring Gatineau is Canada's National Museum of History and Society , the most visited museum in Canada. It is dedicated to the cultural and settlement history of Canada, with permanent exhibitions on the subject of the indigenous peoples (especially the First Nations , but also the Métis and Inuit ), the settlement history by European and Asian immigrants and outstanding personalities in Canadian history deals. The museum also houses the Canadian Postal Museum . a. owns a collection of all postage stamps issued in Canada.

Other Ottawa museums include the Canadian Museum of Nature on the southern edge of downtown, the Canada Science and Technology Museum on the southeastern outskirts, the Canada Aviation and Space Museum on the grounds of the Ottawa-Rockcliffe airfield northeast of downtown and the Museum of Agriculture and Food on the Site of the Central Experimental Farm / Ferme expérimentale centrale in the southwest of the city center.

The building of the Bank of Canada , the Mint Museum (is Currency Museum ) housed. It shows coins from China, ancient Greece, Rome, Byzantium and coins from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance as well as the development of the monetary system in North America.

Music and theater

National Arts Center

Between Elgin Street and the Rideau Canal is the National Arts Center , a building complex that offers several halls for concerts and theatrical performances. It houses the two orchestras, the National Arts Center Orchestra and the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra, as well as the opera group Opera Lyra Ottawa . These appear primarily in the Southam Hall, which has over 2,300 seats. The theater with almost 900 seats is the headquarters of an English- and a French-speaking theater group. The dark brown building, designed by architects Dimitri Dimakopoulos and Fred Lebensold, is elongated and consists of several hexagonal shapes. The opening of the art center took place on June 2, 1969.

The Centrepoint Theater is located near Algonquin College . It offers space for almost 1,000 spectators for smaller music and theater performances. The event hall opened on May 3, 1988.

Regular events

Over 60 festivals and events take place in Ottawa on a regular basis each year.

Tulip parade

Every year in May, the tulip parade takes place, commemorating the birth of the Dutch Princess Margriet during the exile of the royal family in Ottawa during World War II . Queen Juliana was able to give birth to her daughter during her exile in a hospital room that was declared extraterritorial for a short time, which secured her claim to the throne. Out of gratitude for this, the Dutch royal family sends 20,000 tulip bulbs to the Canadian capital every year. Part of this festival is a large boat parade on the Rideau Canal.

The Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival , which takes place in summer, is one of the world's largest chamber music events . The Ottawa International Jazz Festival has also been held in the summer since 1981 . In 2008 over 180,000 visitors came to this event. Canada's largest blues festival also takes place in Ottawa. Since 1994, blues concerts have been performed on various stages on eleven days in July. In 2007 more than 300,000 people attended the festival.

The Canadian National Canada Day on July 1, is generally celebrated throughout the country. However, many events such as parades, large concerts and the presence of representatives of Canadian politics are concentrated in Ottawa. In 1967, 1990, 1992 and 1997 Queen Elizabeth II also took part in the celebrations.

Since 1979, the open-air festival Winterlude (French: Bal de neige ) has been held in Gatineau and Ottawa in February . Since the Rideau Canal is often completely frozen over in the comparatively harsh winter months, music concerts and ice sport activities take place on the canal. One of the highlights is a sculpture competition in which sculptures are made out of snow and ice and illuminated at night. In 2007 the festival attracted around 1.6 million visitors.


Interior shot of the Canadian Tire Center

With the Ottawa Senators in the National Hockey League (NHL) Ottawa has a major league team. The Senators, who have been playing since 1992, play their home games in the 19,153-seat Canadian Tire Center , which opened in 1996 and expanded in 2005. The Ottawa 67’s are a team in the youth league Ontario Hockey League (OHL). In 1978 and 1984, the World Figure Skating Championships took place in Ottawa.

Teams that practiced the other Canadian national sports lacrosse ( Ottawa Rebel ) and Canadian football ( Ottawa Renegades ) only existed for a short time. The city's top soccer team is the Ottawa Fury in the United Soccer League . With 26,559 seats, the TD Place Stadium is Ottawa's largest sports facility. Since 2014, Canadian football has been played again by the Ottawa RedBlacks . There are approximately 170 kilometers of paved paths within Ottawa that are especially suitable for inline skaters . Every year on the last weekend in May there are running competitions ( Ottawa Race Weekend ), the highlight of which is the Ottawa Marathon .


  • Portrait photographer Yousuf Karsh , born in Turkey in 1908, was based in Ottawa. He opened his studio near the Château Laurier. On December 30, 1941, he photographed Winston Churchill in Ottawa after a speech he gave in the House of Commons. With this photo, which also became the cover of Life magazine, Karsh became known worldwide. Although he spent the last years of his life in Boston , he was buried in the Notre Dame Cemetery in Ottawa.
  • Lorne Greene , the actor best known as 'Ben Cartwright' in the western series Bonanza , was born in Ottawa in 1915.
  • The Olympic and world champion in slalom Anne Heggtveit was born in Ottawa in 1939. At Camp Fortune Ski Resport, just outside of town, a ski race was named after her.
    Paul Anka was born in Ottawa.
  • The famous singer and composer Paul Anka was born in the Canadian capital in 1941. His parents from Lebanon ran a restaurant there. Like many artists, Anka moved away from Ottawa because of the lack of development opportunities. In 1957 he went to New York City . The city government raised August 26, 1981 to Paul Anka Day in recognition of his 25-year career in show business . The city also named a street north of the airport in his honor, Paul Anka Drive . Nevertheless, the relationship with his hometown is considered to be divided. After receiving negative reviews after a gig in 1981, he turned his back on the city for more than 20 years. It wasn't until April 2002 that he sang for a benefit gala at the Ottawa Congress Center.
  • Roger Spottiswoode , the director of the Bond film James Bond 007 - Tomorrow Never Dies , the comedy Scott & Huutsch and the science fiction thriller The 6th Day , was born in Ottawa in 1945.
  • The screenwriter and actor Dan Aykroyd , best known for his role as Elwood Blues in the comedy film Blues Brothers , was born in Ottawa in 1952 and initially studied criminology and sociology at Carleton University . His father worked in the capital as a political advisor to the then Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau .
  • Acting Prime Minister of the Province of Ontario Dalton McGuinty was born in the capital in 1955. McGuinty went to school here and studied law at the University of Ottawa . After that he practiced as a lawyer in the city for some time.
  • Singer Alanis Morissette was born in Ottawa in 1974 and lived there until she graduated from high school . In 1993 she finally moved to Toronto.
  • The pianist Angela Hewitt was born in Ottawa in 1958. Her father was a cathedral organist there. She is particularly famous for her recordings and concerts of the piano works of Johann Sebastian Bach . She now lives in London and Umbria (Italy).


  • Rob McLennan: Ottawa: The Unknown City. Arsenal Pulp Press, 2007, ISBN 978-1-55152-232-6 .
  • Art Montague: Ottawa Book of Everything. MacIntyre Purcell Publishing Inc., 2007, ISBN 978-0-9738063-8-0 .
  • James Hale: Frommer's Ottawa. Frommers 2009, ISBN 978-0-470-15695-7 .
  • Shirley E. Woods: Ottawa: The Capital of Canada. Doubleday Canada Ltd, Toronto 1980.
  • Walter E. Riedel: An austrian in Ottawa: Carl Weiselberger's canadian experience: In The Old World And The New. Literary perspectives of german-speaking canadians. University of Toronto Press, 1984, ISBN 0-8020-2516-1 , pp. 107-123.

Web links

Commons : Ottawa  - Album containing pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Ottawa  - explanations of meanings, origins of words, synonyms, translations
Wikivoyage: Ottawa  Travel Guide

Individual evidence

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This version was added to the list of articles worth reading on June 30, 2009 .